A goal-line pileup on the field is nothing compared to the gridlock outside Ralph Wilson Stadium after every game.
But team officials hope to ease the traffic congestion, beginning Sunday, with a new plan for vehicles exiting the stadium to the south, onto Big Tree Road, or Route 20A.
Big Tree Road between Stadium Drive I and Route 219 – about two miles – will be closed to westbound traffic from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., allowing cars leaving the stadium to use both the eastbound and westbound lanes of Big Tree to get to California Road and Route 219.
“It’s geared at getting fans out of here quicker and safer,” said Andy Major, vice president of event operations and guest experience for the Buffalo Bills. “It’s not a long distance, but it’s enough of a distance to get cars to the 219, which is usually where people are going.”
Some congestion should be expected anytime upwards of 75,000 people are leaving a single place at the same time. But the parking lots directly to the south of the stadium have been particularly slow moving after games.
“We’ve known this has been a problem area for quite some time,” Major said.
The closure had to be approved by various entities, including the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, the state Department of Transportation, and the county’s Emergency Services Division.
A Windom Fire Department fire truck and Orchard Park and sheriff’s patrol cars will be used to keep traffic from traveling westbound on Big Tree Road over the two-mile stretch following Bills home games.
Pedestrians will be allowed to walk along both shoulders of Big Tree.